Restaurant: Espita Mezcaleria

I have not written about restaurants serving Mexican food because many years ago I decided that Mexican cuisine was not among my favorite cuisines. After dinner at Espita Mezcaleria I am rethinking that judgement.

Debbie and I went to Espita with Diane, John and Carol. It was a celebration of Carol’s birthday.

When you enter the restaurant the greeter’s station is straight ahead, a step down. Directly to the left on the main floor begins a strip of 2 and 4 tops in two rows that could be pulled together in various combinations. On the wall side of each table the seating is on wooden benches with individual chairs on the other side. This area can seat up to 55 people.

Behind the greeters is a bar area. There are a series of high stools along the bar. On the other side of this raised area across from the bar is a shelf about the height of the bar with another series of high stools. Folks sitting at the shelf sometimes face the open restaurant and sometimes face the bar. This area seats 26 people.

There is an outdoor area with 2 tops and a clear plastic curtain that can be lowered when the weather necessitates it. This area can seat up to 55 people and has heaters.

Our table seats the five of us with one person at the end of the table.

The walls are covered with a variety of painted murals by an artist from Mexico.

I case you are wondering, Mezcal is a distilled alcoholic beverage made from agave nectar.

“The restaurant specializes in Oaxacan cuisine seen through the lens of the Mid-Atlantic.” The restaurant does not serve traditional Oaxacan dishes. The restaurant uses authentic Oaxacan flavors and techniques applied to the seasonal bounty of this region.

Josh, the founder and owner, is also the sommelier and came by our table to talk about the “whiskey.” In many ways this restaurant is a family affair.

Gabriel also came by to talk about the food.

Debbie and I met Gabriel when he and Maricris catered a dinner at our home for some of our friends.

Our server was Autumn Rose. The service was as good as it gets.

We started our dinner by sharing Guacamole and corn chips that are made in house. They are much better than the commercial chips that most restaurants offer and the guacamole was superb. We also order Nueces, arbol smoked almonds & cashews. I found them to spicy but everyone else enjoyed them. We also ordered Brussel tacos, roasted brussels, brussels slaw, crispy artichoke, hazelnut crema.

For dinner Carol ordered two smaller plates. Avocado Tostada, cashew butter, pickled bulb onion, cacao nibs, sunflower sprouts and Ensalada De Endivias, endive, fennel, pine nut hummus, avocado, pickled persimmon, spiced walnut dressing

Diane ordered Mole Negro Con Res – smoked beef short rib, celery roots, trumpet mushrooms, pasilla & beet salsa, tortillas.

Debbie ordered COLIFLOR – roasted cauliflower, chipotle cauliflower puree, delicate squash, smoked hazelnut & arbol salsa.

John and I ordered PULPO – charred octopus with cold smoked mussels, salsa macha, pickled papaya, charred avocado.

The restaurant does offer some non-alcoholic drinks other than various soda pops and I ordered Agua Fresca – passionfruit & pomelo.

For dessert we ordered a variety of ice creams to be shared by all;
Pistachio, Dulce de Leche, Dark Chocolate Sorbet, Coconut Sorbet,
Peanut butter, Caramel, Baked Coconut with Charred Churros. The Churros are baked in coconut ash which results in the churros being very black.

The men’s room has a square white ceramic wall hanging wash basin headed by a mirror. To the left is a white ceramic wall-hanging commode with three rolls of toilet paper to the left and a waste basket in the corner. The floor is roughhewn. There are a couple of waist high safety bars behind and to the left of the commode. Josh’s mother, also an artist, painted a striking mural in the men’s room.

Espita Mezcaleria
1250 9th Street N.W.
Washington, DC 20001